Media release

Sent: Thursday, 28 July 2022

Aurora Energy must do better to avoid power outages says Consumer Advocacy Council

The latest series of power outages in Dunedin has prompted the Consumer Advocacy Council to issue a 'please explain' to network company Aurora Energy.

“We are very disappointed to hear that consumers in central Dunedin have had to endure power outages on winter evenings, some lasting several hours,” said Consumer Advocacy Council Chair Deborah Hart.

The outages appear to have been caused by demand rising to take advantage of free power hours offered by retailers.

Free electricity leaves central city cold – Otago Daily Times(external link)

“Consumers should be able to take advantage of free power offers safe in the knowledge that the electricity will be supplied. They shouldn’t be blamed when the power goes off. 

“This is not only inconvenient, disrupting meals and study for some, it’s also a health issue – no-one should have to be sitting in a cold, unheated home in the depths of winter.

“It’s Aurora’s job to manage their network, know the load on their transformers and supply electricity. Given the number of times there have been outages across its network, Aurora needs to do better and should have a mitigation plan that puts the needs of its 92,000 customers for a reliable supply at its heart.

“We will be writing to Aurora to understand why this is happening and asking what it intends to do to ensure consumers’ needs for consistent and reliable supply are met.

“Consumers need to be able to rely on electricity supply and the demands are only going to grow as we experience more extreme climate events and as more households charge electric vehicles. Networks should be preparing for increased network loading or working on alternatives to manage increased demand,” said Deborah Hart.